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- Episode 109: Running Your Business Using Free Tools
- 21 Day Upwork Challenge Guide
- Episode 110: Be Honest with Yourself
You get to choose how you want to work and who you want to work with. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
You’re in business so that you can have it the way you want it. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Figure out a way that’s easy for you track your receivables and expenses. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi and welcome to The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. I’m your host, Tiffany parson, and today this is episode number 111. We’re going to talk about keeping up with your numbers.
Now, before I dive into today’s topic, I just want to give you a little peek into what is happening behind the scenes. It has taken me probably 15 or 20 minutes to get situated, get my audio to where it’s sounding good. This is why I give you a few options. You can hear the audio, watch the video, or just read it in words, depending on how you’re feeling today. So I give you three different options on my website: TiffanyParson.com.
My glasses are somewhere at my foot so [laughs] I know my camera is on, but it’s a little blurry. I can see colors and stuff. But anyway, my notes are on the floor so I’m just going to do this all by memory because you know how you just get frustrated and you’re like, you know what, I’m just going to go. I’m going to hit play. I’m going go. That’s what’s happening today behind the scenes, so you got the whole behind the scenes look. Anyway, we’re talking about keeping up with your numbers.
Now, in Episode 109, I talked about running your business using free tools, and wanted to give you a quick update on a new tool that I just learned about this week. I had a chance to tinker with it a few minutes before I hit record for the podcast and it is very similar to PicMonkey. If you were a fan of PicMonkey and you’re not sure you want to upgrade, you’re still deciding, this new tool is very similar. It also has an app. I have not used the app yet. I’ll have to play with that as well. But I went ahead and signed up so we could tinker with it together.
It is called BeFunky.com and it does the same thing that PicMonkey did. You’ll see some ads. The only thing, well, I had the PicMonkey Premium so I don’t know if the free PicMonkey had ads and stuff. But that’s the only thing that I found annoying immediately are the ads.
Now, if you decide you like BeFunky.com, they do have a premium option where the pricing is like, I think, $2.99 for the month. But you pay it a year at a time, so it ends up being like $34 for the whole year. Check it out. That could be a good substitute for you, or hang onto PicMonkey. For some reason “pink” is coming out of my mouth – PicMonkey and go from there. But anyway, wanted to let you know about that because I just heard about that this week.
All right, so let’s go forward and talk about your numbers. You are going to want to write down some notes or come back later when you’re in a position to write and take down notes.
What I’m going to share with you is a way for you to keep up with your own numbers in your personal virtual assistant business.
This is not for the purposes of bookkeeping to offer your clients or anything like that. The disclaimer is I am not a bookkeeper, accountant, or anything like that. I just enjoy looking at spreadsheets and have taken time out to organize things for myself to make it easier when it comes to tax time. Also, so I can see how the money comes in and where it goes when it goes out.
Plus, I’ve got some good feedback from the CPA’s office that they love me. Now, I’ve only seen them maybe twice in all the years we’ve worked together, and it’s been since, I want to say, maybe five years now, five years. We’ll say about 2012, five years that we have worked together. In that time, I’ve only seen them maybe twice, maybe three times.
But anyway, I have my husband go in and, you know, take the hard papers and stuff to their office. But I am very organized. I send them – I don’t send them my spreadsheet. I don’t send them a box of receipts. All that stuff is organized and itemized for them. What they get is a final Word document that breaks everything out exactly, you know, where the money came in, what went out, different things like that for our home and business. It makes it very easy for them to follow.
For all I know, the document I’m creating for them may just make it so all they have to do is plug and play. But I don’t mind that because I don’t want to keep up with the latest tax laws. None of that interests me and I just – I pay them for their expertise and experience just like our clients pay us for our expertise and experience regardless of how long it takes us to do it.
Anyway, that’s what we’re going to talk about today because we’re in the final quarter of the year, and it’s better to be ahead of the game when it comes to these numbers than to be behind when the new year rolls in because your clients are going to start sending you 1099s.
If this is your very first year as a virtual assistant business owner and you have at least one client and they’re going to send you a 1099, you usually get one and you’re supposed to get one if they have paid you $600 or more during the tax year. All clients may not. But that doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to file that income. You’re still supposed to file it anyway.
This is a way for you to keep track, and on that Word document I was telling you about, there’s even a place where I’ve put non-1099 payments and then they actually get the hard copies of the 1099s that I get for clients. This way I keep up with everything. If a client paid me $200 or $100, whatever in the whole year, or $1,200 and they didn’t send a 1099, it’s on my Word document so that I can report that income, so they get everything. All right, so let’s talk about it.
How do you receive your payments? You may have clients like me. I get clients who pay via PayPal, I have a client that does automatic deposit, and I have clients that do a check, just depending on what type of client it is. That’s from a church. They do a check, so I don’t have a problem with that. But a majority of my clients pay me through PayPal. Those are three places: PayPal, automatic deposit, and a direct check.
How are your clients paying you? This is what you want to keep track of the money coming in, so all the accounts, the receivables that you’re getting. You may want to create a tab for that where you keep track by the month who gave you what where you look at it every single time so you know exactly how much you have.
Then, what do you use for your expenses? Do you have a business card that you use? Are you using your PayPal account for that? Are you using a different debit or credit card, something outside of the business? What are you using for your business expenses? You’ll want to keep track of that.
I like using accounts that I can keep track of online, like PayPal is easy to look up online. I have another bank account or credit union account that’s easy to look up online. My business account, their whole online system is so confusing. I think they’ve made it confusing on purpose.
I do hard tracking of that and get the mini statement from the ATM because their online system is ridiculous. But anyway, that’s a whole other story. Hopefully, that’s not your experience. But anyway, I keep them because they don’t have any requirements for business accounts what the minimum is and all that good stuff, so there’s a reason I hold onto them.
But anyway, so I keep track of these accounts. I like the online ones because I can look at it on a regular basis, or things that you get an email for every time there’s a payment. It’s easy to keep track of, especially for your online tools that you need for your virtual assistant business. Most of them are going to send you an email that a payment was paid. That makes it really easy.
You want to start using the accounts that make it easy for you to track where the expense went.
If PayPal is your go-to, get that PayPal debit card, which is wonderful. It makes it so much easier to keep up with your business expenses because you get an email every time that card it used. Also, you could easily log into your PayPal account and get a listing of all of your transactions for that month, so it makes it very easy. Plus, if most of your clients, like mine, are paying you through PayPal, then that makes it easy as well. You’re seeing the received and the sent.
What I do every month is I look at that – it’s an unofficial statement for PayPal. I go in and I look it up based on the month. I look at everything that was received. I put that in my spreadsheet. Then I go to everything that was sent and I put that in my spreadsheet to keep track. It’s almost like balancing your checkbook.
But the purpose of this is so that it’ll be easy when it comes to tax time.
You can also compare what was a red month, what was a black month, where maybe you spent more than what came in. That happens, so you want to look at that and see why and, you know, keep track of that.
If you’ve got subcontractors that are part of your team, then you’re keeping track of them as well because you will have to send a 1099 to them if you pay them $600 or more for the year. This way you can keep track of what you’ve been paying them on a monthly basis so you know automatically exactly how much that 1099 is supposed to be.
Every year, my goal is to make life a whole lot easier when tax season comes. It doesn’t always end up that way. Sometimes there’s an extension. Thank God for extensions. But then the time comes you’ll eventually have to do it, right, so this makes it a whole lot easier.
I can tell you this. I’m excited about January coming up because I am already ahead of the game. I’m just so excited. I’ve got it ready, ready to enter my documents and send off to the CPA’s office ready to go. It’s just a matter of waiting on all the 1099s to come in, right.
Excited about that, been keeping track of it. Everything is current as of August. I usually go in and do all my numbers around the 14th of the month because that’s when all my statements are ready for me to look at through my different accounts so I can keep track of. Now, this is something that we absolutely have to do whether we like it or not.
What you want to do is figure out a way that’s easy for you, that you can get it done, and that is as simple as possible.
This is the one way that I’ve found. Now, if you’ve got several different businesses, for example, I’ve got my virtual assistant business and I’ve got my direct sales business, so I have a tab for every single one. Receivables for each business and payables for each business, so money you’ve received and who you’ve paid for each one of those businesses.
Then once it’s all done, everything is entered for all the 12 months, then you have to have a final tab to tally up everything and to put it in groups. For example, it might be memberships, fees, medical. What else? Might be software, expenses. What you can do is use your last tax return and use the different boxes to see what, you know, how is it listed, or just what makes sense to you.
I think right now I’ve got what makes sense to me and it’s been working. It’s worked with the accountant. I’ve used this system for the last, gosh, three years. The first two years, I was just, you know, still working out the kinks, but now it’s like a whole template. All I have to do is just, you know, fill in everything.
One thing you’ll want to make sure of that you have that I didn’t think about this first year, the very first year I did my document, was knowing the square footage of your office. In North Carolina – I don’t know if it’s like that in every state, but it doesn’t hurt to have it on there. If they don’t need it, no biggie. But knowing what the square footage is of the office that you use in your home.
Knowing the total of the utilities that you’re using for your home like your electric and gas and stuff. I think it’s just electric and gas for utilities and if you have to pay water. We don’t have to pay water, but including that. That would be part of your utilities, or ask your accountant what would be considered utilities, or do a search online for your area so you have that number tallied as well. However you, you know, plan to pass it on to whoever does your taxes just to make that very easy.
Insurance, home insurance. I include homeowner’s dues. Those are all separate items. I’m not sure if they use that, but it’s there. Of course, your cell phone and your Wi-Fi, all that stuff.
Mileage. Mileage is something the first couple of years I was like, well, I’m virtual. I don’t go anywhere, and it’s like, well, that’s not true. You have to go to the store to get supplies. You know, I’ve got a UPS Store box that I go to and I have to check that, going to the bank. You may have local clients that you have to go meet or prospects or networking events and different things like that, so keeping up with your mileage.
There’s an app that I use for mileage, I’m just realizing now. I think it’s called MileIQ. I’ll have the exact name and the link for it in the show notes, so I’ll include that for you as well. It automatically tracks. Every time you get in the car, it tracks your route and it’ll – you can itemize it later whether it was for personal or for business. I have not mastered that and gotten it down pat yet because I forget about it.
It tracks literally every time you and your phone get in the car because it’s an app on your phone. Literally, every time you’re in the car, it tracks the route and then you just have to keep up with it. You don’t realize how much you’re in and out until you have this app following you around. But anyway, that’s something as well, especially if you’re doing a lot of – it you’ve got, you know, you’re doing a lot of driving for your business. That’s good to keep up with as well.
All right, so today was all about keeping up with your numbers. I didn’t give you the exact naming of my tabs because I want you to, you know, come up with something for yourself that is very simple for you. Pretty much, it’s receivables and payables for everything and it just goes from there.
You may want to have a tab for subcontractors and then a tally of everything, and then I’ve got another tab where it automatically will subtract the month receivables from payables so I can see whether it was positive or negative and all that stuff. I just got a little fancy, just a little fancy with the equation in there just for fun [laughs]. That’s just for my own personal information. You may or may not want that in yours.
But anyway, it’s something to think about so you’re not scrambling come January to get all that stuff together. You are ready to go and on top of it.
If you have any questions, let me know. I love to hear from you over on my Facebook page. It is my birthday month, October, so I’m going to be doing some fun things on my Facebook page. Some related to virtual assistant business, some fun related beauty and style because that page is all about technology, beauty, and style kind of rolled up and wrapped into one.
Recently, somebody asked me about a virtual assistant group, and we don’t have a group because we don’t have a paid membership or anything like that just yet. That’s something I’ve been, you know, thinking about in my head, so who knows. I may do an introductory for that.
Last year for my birthday is when the 21 Day Upwork Guide got introduced and so that, of course, is available on my website: TiffanyParson.com. It walks you through what to do on Upwork from your day 1 all the way to the 21st day. Let me know how that is going if you’ve gotten the guide. If you haven’t, why not? Go and get your copy.
Let’s see, what else? Oh, this is one other thing I wanted to share really quickly with you and how fast the time goes when you’re doing your business when you just get started.
Now, I’m into my official ninth year of being a virtual assistant. It was September 2008 – September 17th. The 18th was supposed to be my official last day, but my manager was like, “Oh, well, Thursday can be your last day.” I’ll never forget it. My last day was going to be on a Friday. She said, “Well, Thursday can be your last day.” It was around my dad’s birthday so I won’t ever forget that either.
Anyway, I was official, official full-time virtual assistant on September 18, 2008. We have already past that. Oh, no, nine years. I am so wrong. Ten years, y’all. So this, now, we’re October now, right? So now I’m in my 10th year. Am I calculating right? I think I am. Anyway, I don’t have my glasses on, so my glasses help me think better. Glasses or contacts help me think better. I don’t have either one on right now. But anyway, time goes by really, really fast in your business.
Don’t worry about what it’s going to look like five years from now, nine years or ten years from now, as long as you just keep moving, enjoy what you’re doing, refine as you go. You’ll find that there’s some people you love working with and there’s some people that you don’t and that is okay. You’re in business so that you can have it the way you want it. That is right. You can refine your services and you can also opt out clients.
You get to pick and choose how you want to work and who you want to work with.
A little reference from Episode 110. Don’t let anything hold you back. Get started.
I hope this helped you out with keeping up with your numbers. Let me know how you’re doing. Come on over. Hang out with me on the Facebook page. I will chat with you soon.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time!
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